Philadelphia-based Comcast-Spectacor has sold a majority share in three of the Baltimore Orioles' Maryland-based minor league affiliates.
Triple Play Partners, formed within the past few months and headed by a pair of former radio executives, obtained a controlling interest in the Class AA Bowie Baysox and the Class A Frederick Keys and Delmarva Shorebirds for an undisclosed amount.
David Pearlman, president of Massachusetts-based Triple Play, said the company plans to become the largest holder of minor league teams in the nation.
"We see a tremendous opportunity to create an emerging company in this space beginning with these three terrific teams," said Pearlman, the co-founder of American Radio Systems, which operated 96 radio stations before it was sold in 1998 for about $2 billion.
The transaction is subject to approval from each of the three teams' respective leagues and Major League Baseball.
The sale effectively ends Comcast's involvement in minor league baseball. Frank Miceli, the company's vice president of minor league operations, said proceeds would be used to fund the company's facilities management, ticketing and food services operations.
"We saw an opportunity to re-deploy resources into those three companies, which we've seen growth in, while still maintaining a minority share," Miceli said. "[Triple Play Partners] know sports marketing very well and they have a plan to carefully grow the company. They've also committed to taking care of our employees."
Pearlman, who said there are no plans to lay off any staff, said he sees similarities between minor league baseball and the radio industry of the 1980s, when big firms began buying stations during a period of consolidation.
A self-described "marketer, entertainer, and promoter," Pearlman said that Triple Play's focus will be on "providing affordable family entertainment," adding that the company also will hold other events at the minor league ballparks, such as "food fares, symphonies, and pop concerts."